Definition of circumvolution in US English:



  • A winding movement, especially of one thing around another.

    • ‘Here, the musicians position each sound, each effect, in the spectrum with great precision, careful not to disturb the balance between the abstract constructions and the delicate melodic circumvolutions.’
    • ‘We arrived at 4am. and after the cleansing ritual came the circumvolution of the Ka'abah (the black stone) where the pilgrims walk round the Ka'abah 7 times following the rituals of Abraham.’
    • ‘These are the circumvolutions of word and image that positivist imperatives impose on a venture whose Eurocentrism and imperialism he acknowledges but does not pursue.’


Late Middle English: from Latin circumvolut- ‘rolled around’, from the verb circumvolvere, from circum ‘around’ + volvere ‘roll’.